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  • mono 7:37 pm on May 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , friendship, , , , shiritori, social, Sociality, Word game   

    Shiritori and Connection 

    Today I observed two people playing the game known as “Shiritori.” I was not involved in the game, only an observer. Basically, the game known as “shiritori,” involves connecting words by their last letter. In this way, “snake” can connect to “elephant” and so on creating a chain of connected words. The two people drew little pictures above each word they passed to each other and this served as a mode of communication between them. That is to say, they were not randomly choosing the words as I just did (“snake”/”elephant”) but carefully choosing each word as something relevant to their daily life. So, words and pictures were drawn of their favorite animation characters, food they liked, objects they owned, etc. This was a representation of their selves.

    At the end of their playing, they studied the piece of paper commenting on the overall choices of words/images and their faces shined with delight at the completed project as identity was blossoming and the list of images/pictures served to bring them together, opened up a new space between them and their friendship. I think that this kind of play is healthy for us and can perhaps bring things out of us that we didn’t know were there while at the same time it can conjure up things from our lives that we have perhaps forgotten about. Moreover, we can connect.

    How we connect to each other through shared interests under the rule-umbrella of this game can also be seen as a metaphor for how we talk to each other in our daily lives. That is, how we relate to the other and how we can inspire each other and grow together.

    What exists between you and I, even though it may seem far apart, can be brought together through our interaction and gestures. Moreover, what can be created in the space between us can be realized; something can come into existence through us. Also, in this way, by carefully choosing the words that we say, we can learn to have better control over our speech and perhaps participate in more fruitful conversations, more enriching conversations, more aesthetically pleasing conversations and more humanizing conversations with each other.

    Photo by Dan Strange (CC)

    • claytonian 8:46 pm on May 1, 2008 Permalink

      You may be able to find a very funny shiritori video by doing a search on my blog or looking through my youtube favorites.

    • jgrefe 9:17 pm on May 2, 2008 Permalink

      Thank you Claytonian. I will definitely search for the video. Have a great Golden Week.

  • mono 8:04 pm on April 14, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , dress up, , , , , , , Sociality, sociology   

    Voids of Concealed Exposure: Evening Sartoriology 

    Issey Niwa


    Our bodies blend in and at the same time seem to stick out. We cover our bodies in layers of buttons, zippers, belts, beads, metals and cloths of all sorts. This strikes me as slightly odd. I can see the function of covering the body for social reasons and to protect the body from the woes of weather, but we have gone further than this. We have really entered into new territory by attaching words, brands and coordinated colors to the surface of our body. For whom? Us humans like to dress-up and down, we are on some level mutable. In fact, transformability is expected. How dare I go to work for one week wearing the exact same clothes? After around day three, especially with the blossoming of spring and its tendency to carry scents, things may start to get a little icky.

    Cleaning and Revealing

    We clean ourselves with soap, apply lotions, creams, gel for our hair and what not. Most of the time we seem to be hiding the human side of us that we truly are. We want to play the games of social life, it is these games that we are almost compelled to take part in, and let’s face it, they are quite enjoyable. Sometimes, the human side of person is exposed. From a distance the person across the way pulls something out of their nose, looks at it and rolls it up in a tissue. This act of revealing is humbling while, at times, terrifying. It seems hard for us to see other people as they truly are and most of the time, I think we would prefer to keep that distance. Any way of speaking about a person changes the image of that person and shuffle the thoughts around a bit, let them go where they may and see how they might change. We all stir the waters.

    Tactile and Phantom Emulation

    The clothing that the other wears is not only apprehended visually, but sensually as well. The other comes to us in patterns and angles, voids of concealed exposure or well-crafted made-up faces. We seem to be hovering in some in-between plane of existence, caught up in the images seen and crafted through the tongue, carrying around the words of others and the unspoken bodies of others as well. What I mean is that even the movements of our bodies do not seem to be wholly our own. How easy it is to fall into perfect stride with others while walking in the city. Or, we may study the way a person’s hand is poised at their side only to find some time later that we, without our knowing it, have begun to poise our hand in the same way. How easy it is to rest one’s hand on the table in the same way as the person sitting across from us.


    We are like walking vortexes of pulsating…something…Again, drifting in this in-betweenness, this gray space of crystal clear sociality. There are habits and routines, schedules and things that we do. There is casual conversation and posturing. It is morning and the rain has cleared, although the sky is still wet and the puddles still patch the ground. The birds are perched in perfect formation on top of the building. They don’t move. “Are they crows?” he asks. “I’m not sure.” I reply and this time I look with more intensity craning my head just a bit, just the right amount. “Swallllloooowwwsss.” He slowly states, confident and sincere. We turn around and take a few steps away as others approach.

  • mono 8:39 pm on April 13, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Dexter, Dexter Morgan, Masking, Michael C Hall, Season One, , Showtime, Sociality, , ,   

    Dexter: The Humble Monster 

    The Showtime series “Dexter” paints a morbidly human and twisted portrait of a forensics sociopath, Dexter Morgan as he struggles to maintain the facade of social life while waxing his own kind of “private justice” through the elimination of those in need of a little “treatment”. This “private justice” also helps him quench his monstrous tendencies while giving him the satisfaction of his private cravings. That is to say, in this series, the character with whom we spend the most amount of time is a monster, a heartless precise killer caught in a balancing act between desire and restraint.

    I recently wrote about Carl R. Rogers, opened up his idea of “false faces” and the need for one to come to terms with one’s many “faces” in the process of becoming a person. Later that day I was floored by “Dexter” as this show in particular focuses on the social mask as the viewer experiences the interior/exterior life of a humble monster.

    I see three narratives running through this series. The first is the basic story: a blood pattern analyst, Dexter Morgan working and interacting while secretly completing his little nighttime “projects.” Also, sub-plots which involve the tracking of “The Ice Truck Killer,” his sister, girlfriend and co-workers and so on. The narrative running beneath this is the monologues we receive, the messages from his interior landscape, the reflections on not being able to feel, the awareness of alienation which serve as a blunt study on extreme social masking. Third, there is the interconnecting narrative, the connection point between the prior two, which is the distance between the monster and the social human. It is within this distance that sits between the first two narratives where the viewer spends a lot of time. We are fully aware of the pretending of which Dexter actively engages in, the role playing and repeated attempts to blend in. This distance is vital to his character and is hit upon in every episode I have seen thus far. He is, as he refers to himself, “A master of disguise.”

    Moreover, there is the character of “Harry,” Dexter’s father who taught him how to disguise himself and mentored him in the art of blending in. In one episode, Dexter refers to Harry as always being with him. The father-son bond between Harry and Dexter seem to be one of Dexter’s only feelings of true love. His relationship with his girlfriend at times comes to light for him as they partake in the games of everyday life, but still he wrestles with the gap between who he really is and who he knows he must be. Harry is the only person who truly knew Dexter and his cravings and Harry is, in my eyes, the only one that Dexter could truly love.

    While watching this show, the mind may become disoriented. The character Dexter that we follow and listen to takes us into the dark spots of the mind, the sterility of his surgical chambers reflect his true inner life. His emotionless involvement are all the more unsettling as are the few things that seem to give him real joy, especially his fascination and love for blood. To emphasize with this kind of character puts the viewer in a vulnerable position as it moves from Dexter as pretending to be warm and friendly to Dexter as coolly vicious and alien. The viewer waits as the episode begins to find out who Dexter’s next evil victim will be. All along, we may forget the perverse interiority of Dexter. At times, he is like the Gnostic alien, the confused being confronted with the strangeness of the alien landscape, on the periphery yet immersed in the waters of sociality.

    Dexter Season One is available for purchase through the US iTunes music store.

    • Mark 4:59 am on December 16, 2008 Permalink

      I think Harry’s Code has evolved into Dexters Code. Check out my blog! I’m a big Dexter fan!

    • moosh 7:01 pm on December 24, 2008 Permalink

      Is there a bigger resolution for that picture?

  • mono 9:56 pm on April 8, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Nonhuman, , , Social Form, Sociality, , Tentacle   



    The body adorned, the body’s metamorphosis into a garmented state – the interactive process – elevated both physically and imaginatively; The fashioned body as locus of reciprocity and individuality. Layering as self-transformation, on the periphery of self-visualization, never fully able to realize this realization in its wholeness. The fashioned body: the sticky tentacle for the other’s gaze and for the imagined representation of one’s self. Fashion: the disappearing-blossoming flesh of creative infusion with the expression of the designer’s work, an assemblage of vortexes surrounding the body, imaginatively composing the social body…The crevice between body and garment, that nether world, the beginning of the body.

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